Anyone conversant with the medical cannabis scene is probably familiar with the all too common “in conclusion” disclaimer; but more research is needed to confirm these preliminary findings. It’s a way to neatly counter all substantial evidence supporting marijuana’s therapeutic potential. So one would easily assume that researchers are only beginning to scratch the surface with medical cannabis. A recent study has revealed quite the contrary.
Nearly 30,000 cannabis related studies were carried out between 1829 and 2021. These studies have been published in close to 6,000 scientific journals including the British Journal of Pharmacology (356), the Journal of Drug and Alcohol Dependence (706), and Addictive Behaviors (419).
The researchers noted a steep increase in the number of cannabis related studies from the 1960’s. While earlier as well as the bulk of the studies focused on the harms of cannabis, later studies have concentrated on the therapeutic potential. In addition, later studies have had a broader scope with researchers relying on several databases such as Scopus.
The researchers noted that the spike in cannabis research can be attributed to increased funding opportunities. For example, from 2000 to 2018, cannabis researchers were funded to the tune of $1.5 billion. It is presumed that most of these funds were channeled towards investigating the risks and benefits of medical cannabis. However, the researchers noted that earlier studies that were mostly funded by NIDA were framed to find “whats wrong with cannabis” and not “what’s right with cannabis.” With such a background, it’s no surprise that cannabis researchers still walk on eggshells when declaring results that seem to support the therapeutic potential of the plant. Hence the entrenchment of the disclaimer, “further research is needed to confirm the preliminary findings.” 30,000 studies and counting . . .